Weekly News Roundup 4/20–4/26


Baboons break out of the big house

Four baboons at a biomedical research institute in Texas went over the wall in desperate bid for freedom that involved some inspired teamwork and the ingenious use of a 55-gallon barrel. The baboon breakout, which took place two weeks ago at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute in San Antonio, led to a low-speed highway chase and a lot of bemused motorists, at least one of which live tweeted the event. This was no literal barrel of monkeys, however—the escapees didn’t use the barrel to hide. Authorities at the facility, which houses almost 1,100 of the animals, say the baboons rolled the barrel up against the side of their perimeter walls and used it as an improvised ladder to make their getaway.

Naturopath gives saliva from rabid dog to unruly child

 A Canadian naturopath claims she treated a four-year-old boy’s behavioral problems with a controversial homeopathic remedy—she gave him saliva from a rabid dog. The saliva—known as lyssinum, lyssin, or hydrophobinum—has been approved by the Canadian government as a legitimate homeopathic product. Anke Zimmermann, ND, FCAH, from Victoria, British Columbia, used the saliva last year to treat a preschooler who had been having trouble sleeping and was acting out in the classroom. “His preschool is complaining that he hides under tables and growls at people,” she wrote in her blog. She also wrote that she decided to administer “a homeopathic remedy” made from rabies because the boy had been bitten by a dog.

Dog’s cancer turned out to be unusually benign

A couple in England were afraid that their Saint Bernard had cancer after a CT scan showed a mass on her spleen. Her owners took eight-year-old Maisie in for the scan after she took ill and displayed an unusually full stomach. But when a veterinarian performed surgery on Maisie to remove the mass, he discovered halfway through the operation that the mass was benign. Not only was it benign, it was about as benign as you can get, because the tumor turned out to be teddy bears—Maisie had eaten four of them.

Congress doesn’t want you to eat your pets

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill advanced a proposal to outlaw dog and cat consumption last week—but not because Americans are eating their pets. Backers say the purpose of the proposed measure is to support international animal rights activists: if passed, it would send a clear signal that the United States condemns the dog and cat meat trades in East Asia. Or so said Sara Amundson, executive director of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which lobbied for the measure. The Humane Society estimates that 30 million dogs are killed for food each year, mostly in China and South Korea. Amundson said that activists in those countries have questioned why the United States does not have its own dog meat law.

UC Davis cited for animal welfare violation

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis), has agreed to pay a penalty of $5,000 to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) stemming from a July 2016 animal welfare citation. The citation—which falls under the Animal Welfare Act—described a procedure where a rabbit died under anesthesia when a valve was inadvertently left closed. After learning of the incident, the USDA Investigative and Enforcement Service notified UC Davis that it would investigate. In response to the rabbit’s death, UC Davis retrained its staff and replaced the valves with ones that are open by default. But they still have to pay the fine.

NEWStat Legislation & regulation Interesting/unusual